Sales are probably the most powerful marketing tool available to a company. A sales representative sitting across from a potential customer, discussing customer needs and explaining what benefits the product offers to them, is more likely to achieve its goal than any advertising, PR, or any of the available methods of sales promotion. Unfortunately, personal selling is at the same time the most expensive promotion tool for the company; on average, one sales representative costs the company 50,000 pounds per year, and during this time, s/he will be able to work, at best, with 1,600 potential customers. Therefore, personal selling is for expensive or high-tech products only that require a lengthy decision-making procedure.
Some assistants in retail stores learn sales techniques, especially in electronics shops or shoe stores where customers need advice. In these cases, the retailer can spend a significant amount of time and effort on training the salespeople both in the technical details of how the products of this range work and the sales methods. You have to learn to sell – there are no ultimate sellers in the world, although, of course, some people have more trading ability than others do.
There are four categories of salesmen:
■ “order recipients” who take orders for goods from consumers who have already decided to make a purchase;
■ “order collectors” who find solutions for new and existing customers and convince them to make a purchase;
■ “missionaries” who are looking for new customers and preparing them to make a purchase;
■ Support staff like technical sales representatives who demonstrate professional products and urge users to adopt them. What the company expects from its sales representatives is that they will eventually convince customers to purchase the company’s products, not the products of its competitors. The company wants its sales representatives to be able to explain the benefits of the product in terms of customer needs and ensure that it makes an order. In some industries, this provides more than 50 percent success rate, which is, of course, much more than the best percentage of purchases in response to advertising.
Sales representatives have a poor track record, often undeservedly claiming that they are intrusive and prone to manipulation. In practice, successful sales representatives know that their task is equally to help customers, as well as to help a company fulfill its sales plan. Sales representatives say it is easier to find another company than new customers, so they consider it necessary to care for the interests of the customer.
Good sales representatives start by figuring out what the customer’s needs are, then deciding which of the company’s products best meets those needs. The next stage is to explain to the customer the benefits of the product about their needs. Finally, the sales representative ends the negotiations by offering to place an order. This process is in many ways reminiscent of the activities of marketing specialists in general, except for the fact that the sales representative works one-on-one, and not with the mass market. In this sense, the sale as micromarketing.
It means that the customer can “use the brains” of a sales representative who supposedly knows more about the products available. In many cases, this can significantly reduce efforts to find the most suitable product, and, moreover, a sales representative can help people cross the decision-making barrier. Experienced sales representatives often say that the most challenging part of the job is to make a decision, not to make a purchase.
Therefore, sales representatives combine product knowledge (obtained in advance) with an understanding of customer needs (acquired during the presentation) and sales techniques (which help in making decisions) to help the customer conclude.
About the author:
Melisa Marzett from http://smartessayrewriter.com/ is trying to understand sales strategies and recently has turned out to be highly effective at increasing online sales.